Rising speedway star James on right track to continue his development

James Jessop
James Jessop
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The tapes are set to go up on the new season for a rising speedway star from Deeping St James.

Seventeen-year-old James Jessop will be riding in the Midland and Southern Development leagues for Milton Keynes and Weymouth Wildcats respectively as he looks to make his mark in his first full campaign.

The Deepings School A-Level student – who is studying drama, history and English Language – rode in a handful of meetings for the Wildcats last season before securing a permanent place for the coming campaign.

And, after winning the novice track champion accolade in the Southern Track Riders competition last season, James is hoping to make an impression after taking the next step on the road to the top.

He said: “I just want to see how it goes. I know where I want to be by the end of the year, but I’m just going to take every meeting as it comes.

“The Midlands League is a bit harder than the Southern one so my aim is to just stay in the Milton Keynes team.

“Weymouth are a team who are building for the future so I want to steadily improve throughout the season.”

James first became interested in speedway as a four-year-old when he was taken to his first meeting at Swindon by dad Dave who now acts as his son’s mechanic.

What started out as a hobby saw James’ expectations increase when a chance conversation on social media with Weymouth promoters Martin Peters and James Tresadern saw him handed the chance to earn a spot in the Wildcats team.

James explained: “I become hooked on speedway after the very first meeting that my dad took me to.

“It was just the smell of the bikes and the intense competition. I’ve always been a very competitive person and wanted to give it a go.

“I did a few experience days on 125cc bikes so my expectations were pretty low when I moved onto the 500cc as I had never been on one before.

“I had a crash in my opening meeting at Scunthorpe and, after causing around £200 worth of damage to the bike, I did have some doubts about the financial sustainability of it.

“But I hate losing and I wasn’t going to allow this to be the case for the rest of the season and, after my first race win, I saw the upturn in form that I was hoping for.”

A series of consistent displays shot James to prominence in the Southern Track Riders competition where he was named most improved rider before his social media meeting with the Weymouth duo changed his ambitions.

James added: “From not expecting anything at the start of the season I found myself travelling down to Plymouth to ride for Weymouth.

“I was nervous as I had never shown myself to be at that standard, but I was able to take part in two rides.

“Despite not much success, it was enough to make me want more. I began training at Rye House to step it up in an effort to get myself to Southern Development League standard.”

James was named as one of the first riders in the Weymouth team for this season’s campaign and it was their promotion who recommended the talented teenager to Milton Keynes for their Midlands Development League team.

They start their campaign on Sunday, March 25, with a trip to Peterborough which will be James’ nearest meeting of the season as Weymouth will be racing at Eastbourne and Milton Keynes at Birmingham during the season.

James has a secured some vital sponsorship from Safeguard Hire of Peterborough but is always on the look-out for other potential backers.

Anyone interested in helping James with sponsorship can contact him via his Facebook page James Jessop 217.